New York Yankees Shortstop Derek Jeter Has Three Solid Seasons Left

Harold FriendChief Writer IFebruary 13, 2011

ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 22:  Derek Jeter #2 of the New York Yankees looks on during batting practice against the Texas Rangers in Game Six of the ALCS during the 2010 MLB Playoffs at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on October 22, 2010 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Derek Jeter had his worst season in 2010, yet upon closer scrutiny, it appears to be less than it was because Jeter has been producing so much more for so long.

Jeter batted .270 in 2010.

Phil Rizzuto's lifetime batting average is .273, PeeWee Reese's is .269, Rabbit Maranville batted .258, and Luis Aparicio, Ozzie Smith and Joe Tinker each batted.262, Luke Appling hit .310. All are in the Hall of Fame.

The most home runs any of the above-mentioned shortstops ever hit was Reese's 16 in 1949. In 2010, Jeter hit 10 home runs. He has averaged about 16 home runs a season for his career.

Jeter was never a great defensive shortstop, but he had excellent range going into the hole. He could backhand the ball and, in his own inimitable way, leap as he fired the ball to first base. He no longer has that range.

The greatest shortstop in Yankees' history was not as good going to his right.

Scott Brosius, who played third base on the great New York Yankees teams at the turn of the century, shaded to his left in order to allow Jeter to play a little closer to second base.

Derek Jeter will be 37 years old at the end of June. He has signed a three-year, $51-million contract, with a fourth-year option based on Jeter's success during the first three years.

The following table shows how selected shortstops fared after the age of 36:

Luis Aparicio
37 .232 .284
38 .257 .299
39 .271 .324

Luke Appling
39 309 384
40 .306 . 386
41 314 .423
42 .301 .439

PeeWee Reese
37 .257 .322
38 .224 .306
39 .224 .337

37 .259 .369
38 .231 310

Ozzie Smith
37 .295 .367
38 288 .337
39 .262 .326
40 .199 .282
41 .282 .358

Honus Wagner
37 .334 .423
38 .324 .395
39 .300 .349
40 .252 .317
41 .274 .325
42 .287 .350
43 .265 .337

The above table reveals that the selected Hall of Fame shortstops hitting from the ages of 37-39 was not too different from the rest of their career.

Luke Appling had the highest lifetime batting average among all Hall of Fame shortstops. He returned to baseball in 1945 after helping to defend the American way of life, appearing in only 18 games in 1945. In 1946, at the age of 39, he hit .309 with a .384 on base average.

There is an excellent chance that Derek Jeter, like Appling, Aparicio, Smith and Wagner, will have productive seasons during the years of his new contract.

Jeter has a lifetime .314 batting average. He has the advantage of modern training methods that were not available to past Hall of Fame shortstops.

Jeter takes care of himself, has the pride and attitude of the great DiMaggio, and is highly motivated to show the Yankees, fans and especially the media that he is not yet finished.

He isn't.


Baseball Almanac

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